State lawmakers are turning up heat on Northeast Utilities over rumors the utility giant will outsource its information technology functions. The legislators say the company isn't playing straight with them. For several weeks, gossip has been circulating about the intentions of Northeast Utilities with regard to its IT department.
The Attorney General has been attempting to get answers from the company. Last week, he asked the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to get involved. Lawmakers, too, say they've approached the utility after being contacted by numerous employees.
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz said, "You have as many as three to four hundred employees that are just plain old scared; that have been told outsourcing is going to happen, but no clear timeframe." Apart from the nervousness the company is creating in its workforce, the lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, say they're concerned about the potential impact to storm response, and about the potential for security breaches and cyber hacking if the jobs go overseas.
Representative Lonnie Reed, co-chair of the legislature's energy committee said NU promised transparency on employment when it merged with Massachusetts-based N-Star. "This is our power distributor," said Reed, "the largest one in New England. And for all these rumors to be flowing around --something that impacts all of our lives so dramatically, not just their workforce -- it's unconscionable."
So far, the lawmakers say, Northeast Utilities has been polite, but non-responsive to their requests for more clarity on outsourcing plans.